Mark This Spot 

A deeply felt proposal

I'm not from Twin Falls. I've never lived in Twin Falls and as near as I can recall, I've only been there once in my life. Truth is, I probably know less about Twin Falls than Evel Knievel does-and believe me, admitting I know less than Evel Knievel is no easy thing for me to do.

So who am I to suggest the city of Twin Falls should erect a monument to Mark Felt as fast as they can, and in the most conspicuous place possible?

Just a grateful citizen, folks. That's all. Just a fella who believes the price of freedom demands that we make certain the likes of Pat Buchanan and G. Gordon Liddy never, ever run out of things to bitch about.

Listen, I'm not one of these gushing local lick-spittles who go moony over every famous Idahoan (as though there were so many famous Idahoans to go moony over, huh?) but Felt isn't merely famous. Mark Felt, bless his deep throat, saved our land from a fate almost as bad as George Bush, and by gum, the least his hometown can do is put up a statue. And thanks for asking, yes ... I do have a few ideas about what such a statue should look like.

First of all, I feel strongly this monument should be modeled from life, and not one of these conceptual "spaces" that would inevitably turn into a skateboarders' hangout or a farmers market. After all, what Mark Felt gave to America was a solid and definitive act of valor, not some political paradigm he dreamt up on a radio talk show or a policy speech he made at a lobby-sponsored Georgetown banquet. No sir, Felt recognized a genuine threat to the heart and soul of our democracy, then virtually alone and at great risk (considering the sort of thugs Nixon had surrounded himself with) he did what only he could know had to be done.

So please, no "Mark Felt Square" or "Mark Felt Memorial Reflection Pool." Let's have a real, bigger-than-life Mark Felt statue, chiseled from the hardest, most enduring rock this planet has to offer. (As I understand it, that Italian marble stuff must be pretty good stuff. DaVinci and Michaelangelo thought so anyway, and if it's good enough for them, it's certainly good enough for Twin Falls.)

Here's what I'm thinking as to form and content: I see Felt looking nobly patrician-not unlike a middle-aged George Washington, only without the powdered wig and knickers-and he's leading two eager young lads through a confusion of flat rocks. Obviously, they are Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward as they were 30 years ago. (Posing Hoffman and Redford for this artwork would make it nicer to look at, for sure, but historical accuracy should never be sacrificed for cosmetic reasons.)

In my conception, Woodward and Bernstein are crouched down at Felt's legs like curious Boy Scouts, their eyes upon the ground, and Mr. Felt is flipping over a large flat rock with his foot. The young reporter's faces should be frozen in shock and disgust as a nest of the creepiest bugs you ever saw are exposed to the light. These creatures should be portrayed as repulsively loathsome as possible: earwig-ish things, centipede-like things, mutant white fungaloid things with enemies lists and burglary tools held tightly in their grasping clampers, things with voracious mouths and spidery eyes... things no civilized people should ever allow to become their leaders. Things with the twisted faces of Colson, Ehrlichman, Haldeman, Magruder, Liddy, Hunt, Mitchell, Segretti... and, of course, the vile queen from which they all hatched.

I'm serious; children should be frightened when they see it. I don't want to suggest it should scar them for life, but I definitely believe the little tykes should cling to their parents' and cry, "Daddy, Mommy! What are those horrible awful things?"

And throughout the centuries to come, parents should take this learning opportunity by the ears and gently explain, "Why Pumpkin, that's the Nixon Administration. And thank heavens Mister Mark Felt here came along to expose it for what it was, eh?"

And hey, if it does scar them for life, maybe that's OK. Because when you think about it, isn't scar tissue a way of reminding us never to do that again?

You bet, Mark Felt's monument should be built to last. And it should be big. Maybe not Mount Rushmore big, but certainly bigger than the typical public arts geegaws we see scattered politely around airport lobbies and municipal buildings. It should be big enough that all the national news organizations can't help but send reporters to cover its unveiling, that's how big it should be.

See, my hope is there would be more news teams in Twin Falls come dedication day than there were when Evel Knievel tried to jump the Snake River Canyon. I'd like to see them pump it like there was no other news that day. Then all the old Nixon thugs can sit down with Chris Matthews and Larry King and, once again, try to explain why Mark Felt doesn't deserve our nation's gratitude. That Felt somehow did a dishonorable thing by helping to unmask a dishonorable administration. That Felt should have kept his mouth shut and allowed those very same thugs to get away with it. That things are somehow better when everyone just plays ball. That loyalty, even loyalty to a miserable crook, is better than justice.

(These unrepentant goons will even suggest Felt should have resigned his office before he started spilling his beans-as though every undercover cop has a duty to quit the force before he testifies to the crimes he's witnessed, hah! They will even blame Felt for causing the U.S. to lose the war in Vietnam by bringing down Nixon's hard-line depravity. And who knows? Maybe they're right. Maybe it takes a corrupt bunch of lying bastards to wage a corrupt war. By today's standards, it certainly looks that way, doesn't it?)

But here's the thing. After the thugs have had their say, America will still have the monument. Inscribed (if I get my wish): "Mark Felt-Twin Falls boy-one of those rarest of individuals who understand how dreadfully wrong the in crowd can be."

Incidentally, did you know that Evel Knievel tried to jump the canyon exactly one month to the day after Nixon made his resignation speech? No kidding, 9/8/74 and 8/8/74, respectively.

Now think about this ... is it possible we've got Evel all wrong? That maybe he's really one of those ironic performance artists? And maybe that pathetically failed stunt of his down on the river was a conceptual metaphor for the whole pathetic Nixon presidency? Is that possible? Hmm.

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